There is an interesting phenomenon in social media lately in Indonesia. Some of the platform began to declare themselves as an online game platform. Friendster, as written in DailySocial, a social media platform ever rising and is very popular in Indonesia, to re-launch itself as an online gaming platform. In addition to Friendster, mig33 which has tens of millions of users in Southeast Asia began planning to sell virtual goods in the Asian market and moved their office to Singapore. Even Nokia held a Game Developer Warwhich I see quite successful capture and publicize the potential seeds of local game developers Indonesia.
First step into the game industry, I was quite logical considering a website as well as a platform now cannot rely solely on the number of hits alone. Other parameters such as hang time also determines how attractive a website and a platform in the eyes of users, and gaming is the most surefire way to keep the user using the website/platform. One key to the success of Facebook is the existence of those games that made by Zynga on that platform that managed to attract new users to be a Facebooker and also adding value to existing users by providing engangement media through online games.
Basically an online game is not a new thing in Indonesia. Game publishers like Lyto who managed to take billions of dollars in revenue from Ragnarok Online, Rising Force Online, and many more. There is also Megaxus with Audition Online which brand with the name AyoDance in Indonesia, and most recently that the author knows of is Point Blank, published by Gemscool. Maybe their names are less popular in the startup world in Indonesia, given that most Indonesian startup is web-base, but their monetization model is one of the most successful in Indonesia. The issues such as the lack of online payment system and the low adoption of credit cards are not holding them back from monetizing their users, and beside the fact they do have a community that has thousands of members.
Their way of monetizing player is using the most familiar way in Indonesia, namely the sale of virtual goods. They also issued a voucher in some nominal whether physical vouchers or through gateways like GudangVoucher (GV), IndoMOG and similar services. Vouchers can be exchanged for cash or coins to be exchanged later with the virtual goods that exist in their game. The method is virtual goods more attractive to the users in Indonesia rather than subscription. With selling virtual goods they can promise their game free for lifetime but requires certain items to make it easier to conquer the game, or just to beautify avatars like what happened in Audition/Ayodance. Yes, a variety of beautiful and blink-blink accessories and will raise the prestige of the holder of the characters.
And for the note, the company is the publisher where they may only market the game in certain areas. Usually it’s for Indonesian market only. Yes the local market that had been echoed in various developer events and business events. Why? Because they are publishers, not developers. Almost every games they publish are the games that come from Korea such as Gravity, CCR Korea and NCSoft. Publisher must hold a regional license to sell/publish the game. Their choices are limited. Suppose that Indonesia has a regional license, then publishers should shut down access to Singapore and Malaysia for example, and only serve local markets in Indonesia. And they are profitable. It is a conceivable opportunity for local developers Indonesia to monetize the game in its own market. Mentality “just create a standard game because it’s only for the local market” is not applicable in this industry. In fact the local players are familiar with the games of high-quality imports, both original and pirated. They show no mercy for the poor-quality games. While working on the local market, we have to build products that have a quality that is ready to go global.
With the emerging of many game platforms, complete with a good monetization either by voucher or by credits. I hope local game developer can serve its own market. Without relying on the payment gateway that is practical and easy in Indonesia, which until now the traction still lacking, local developers can still create a product that hosts its own and support itself.
Sumyandityo Noor Mohammad, better known as Didiet. CTO of Onebitmedia Web & Mobile Agency and Producer in GuavaGames. Falls in the animation and gaming industry since 2006, is the Lead Developer at one of the Korean online games licensorin Indonesia from 2007-2010. Now lives in Yogyakarta. Follow him on twitter @lynxluna
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